Saturday, August 13, 2016

Let's Talk Healthy: Chicken Tortilla Soup


Chicken Tortilla Soup is one of my favorite soups, especially for those rainy summer days. I'm going to give you everything you need for this to become one of your favorite soups too!

Total time: 30 minutes
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 20 minutes

What you'll need: 
4 Chicken breasts
3 Cups of chicken stock
2 Containers of bacon pieces 
Frozen bag of onions
Frozen bag of carrots
Fire roasted salsa
Hot sauce

Optional:
1 Lime
1 Avocado 
Mozzarella shredded cheese
Tostitos Hint of Lime chips

**Note: chicken stock is different from chicken broth, it contains more flavor due to what it is made from. 

Directions:
  • First you will need to bring the 3 cups of chicken stock to a boil.
  • Add in your chicken. 
  • As your chicken is boiling, add about a teaspoon of extra virgin olive oil in a pan and add your bacon pieces and about half the bag of frozen onions. 
  • Stir until onions have browned. 
  • In another pot you will bring your fire roasted salsa, a couple dashes of hot sauce and your bag of frozen carrots together to a boil. You can keep this boiling until you have shredded your chicken. 
  • DO NOT toss the chicken stock. 
  • Add your shredded chicken, bacon and onions to the pot with the fire roasted salsa and carrots. 
  • Once you have added all the ingredients together, grab a strainer and strain the chicken stock to the rest of the soup and stir it all together. 
As for the lime, avocado, cheese and chips: you can use these items as toppings. Cut the limes into wedges and squeeze the lime juice into the soup. Then add a few avocado slices, chips, some cheese and enjoy.   


Tuesday, August 9, 2016

7 Thoughts Every Student Has About Going Back to School

With school only a couple weeks away, it's time for everyone to start packing up and heading back to their beloved college campus... Or for those of us who were lucky (insert eye roll) enough to stay behind from all the exotic trips, we're getting ready to finally have our friends back.  Here are the thoughts that many of us, especially me, have been having on the much anticipated return.

1. I finally get to be reunited with my BFFs. After being separated for three months and your only companion has been your dog and coworkers, it's going to be so nice seeing friendly faces.


2. How am I supposed to balance school, work, AND my social life? Working full time over the summer isn't a big deal when that's ALL you have to worry about. But what happens when you throw in school and your social life? Complete disaster. Think about it like this: you can only pick two and the third one will inevitably suffer.. and we all know it won't be my social life.


3. Thirsty Thursdays is finally going to be a thing again. Along with Tuesdays.. Fridays... Saturdays... Hell I'm free again, I can go out whenever I want.



4. I'm going to actually go to every class... EVEN the 8ams. Let's be real, during drop add the 8am's will be dropped and you'll go for the much more attainable 12pm.


5. I wonder what themes socials will be? When packing, this is the ultimate deciding factor: do I need those leather pants? Cat ears? probably.



6. Will I have any friends in my classes? Nostalgically thinking back on high school days when you knew everyone in classes and it wasn't so intimidating. 


7. How many days until Christmas break?



What are some of the things you're thinking about before heading back to campus? Comment below!




Thursday, August 4, 2016

Let's Talk Healthy: Honey Mustard Chicken


This honey-mustard chicken is a serious game changer. It's a sweet savory meal that you can't beat. My personal favorite part of this meal is the spices. If you're like me and work multiple jobs along with being a full time student: you don't have much time on your hands and meal prepping is key to staying on track. I know eating the same bland chicken can get boring week after week, so my tip would be to invest in a couple of different seasonings and spices and mix it up so you never get bored.

Total time: 3 hours
Prep time: 2.5 hours
Cook time: 40 minutes

What you'll need:
1. 1/2 cup Honey
2. 1/2 cup Mustard 
3. 1 teaspoon Paprika 
4. salt/pepper
5. Italian seasoning 
6. 5 chicken breast
7. Frozen bag of mix vegetables

  • Combine the following in a separate bowl:

-1/2 cup of honey
-1/2 cup of mustard 
-1/2 teaspoon of salt
-1/2 teaspoon of pepper-
-1/2 teaspoon ofItalian seasoning
-1 teaspoon of paprika

  •  Add the chicken to the bowl and let it marinate for as long as you would like (or you dont have to let it marinate at all, but it's my preference to do so). If you choose to marinate it, let it sit for about 2 hours. 
  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. 
  • Place the chicken in an oven safe dish, cook for 40 minutes. 
  • In the last 10 minutes of the chicken cooking, throw your frozen vegetables into the microwave and combine the two and enjoy this delicious meal. 


What kind of foods would you like to see me make? Email your ideas to me at mikaylamariemeals@gmail.com!



Wednesday, August 3, 2016

What does my semicolon tattoo mean?


These semicolon tattoos have been showing up everywhere...

Unlike other trends, these tattoos have meaning, and a pretty big one at that. It's understandable if you haven't noticed them. Many people get them in small, inconspicuous places. This tattoo is not meant to be flashy, it's more of a personal meaning kind-of-deal.

No, it's not just a punctuation mark for grammar nerds, but its origin does go back to what the semicolon means in a sentence.

sem·i·co·lon (noun) a punctuation mark (;) indicating a pause, typically between two main clauses, that is more pronounced than that indicated by a comma.

In Project Semicolon, a movement founded in 2013, they described their reasoning for choosing the semicolon:

"A semicolon is used when an author could've chosen to end their sentence, but chose not to. The author is you and the sentence is your life."

PROJECT SEMICOLON IS A GLOBAL NON-PROFIT MOVEMENT DEDICATED TO PRESENTING HOPE AND LOVE FOR THOSE WHO ARE STRUGGLING WITH MENTAL ILLNESS, SUICIDE, ADDICTION AND SELF-INJURY. PROJECT SEMICOLON EXISTS TO ENCOURAGE, LOVE AND INSPIRE. 


Photo by NAMI
43.8 MILLION adults experience mental illness.... but there is still a negative stigma surrounding it, preventing many people from getting help or speaking out about it. (Click here to read Katelyn's story about finally speaking up)

The more people talk about it, the more people will realize that it's a common occurrence and not something to be ashamed about. I've realized that people LOVE talking to people about their tattoos and finding out what they stand for.... which means on an almost daily basis I get to tell people about the things that I've gone through and why I've become a stronger individual because of it.

To read more about others stories and how they overcame their struggles, click here.

Want to submit your story and have it featured on this blog? We'd love to hear about it! Shoot me an email to ashleyinthemountains@gmail.com. Don't want to be featured on the blog, but want someone to talk to? Head over to the contact page and find out ways to get in touch with me!


Wednesday, July 27, 2016

10 Things he does that means more than 'I love you'

If I've learned anything from dating, it's that men can be full of it.

We know men think with their second 'heart' most of the time, so how do we know when they actually love you and it's not lust? How do you know that he's actually serious?

To truly be able to distinguish between the two, you have to look at what he's doing and not what he's saying. He may not always say the right things, but his actions definitely speak louder than his words.

1. He stays in with you when you're sick.

Not just the "I have a cold and can still function sick," but the very unattractive cuddling a tissue box and not moving from the couch kind of sick.

2. He goes to things he doesn't want to go to because you'll be there.

Obviously he doesn't want to go to the Christmas party with all of your co-workers, but since you'll be there he could care less how awkward it'll be.

3. He lets you pick the restaurant on date night.

Your needs come first before his, no matter how much he wants to go to his favorite sports bar for drinks and wings.

4. He always makes times to text you back, even if he's slammed at work.

Those random "I miss you" texts really mean a lot.

5. He pays attention to the little things you love.

He knows your order at your favorite fast food and the type of flowers you love. Even better, he'll surprise you with those things for no reason.

6. He pretends to listen to your gossip.

No, he doesn't care that Becky has gained a lot of weight, but he won't let you know that.

7. He'll carry your purse when you need an extra hand, no matter how girly he looks.

Nothing is more annoying than trying to grab the shirt on the top rack and having your purse hinder your reach. He'll gladly hold on to it while you sift through to find that last medium.

8. He notices when you get your hair done and genuinely compliments you.

You know he really loves you when he compliments your new hair and you didn't even hint to him that you got it done.

9. He plans dates. 

"Be ready by 8 tonight and wear that cute red dress you have, I'll be by to pick you up. Where we're going is a surprise."

10. He bonds with your pet.

At first, your dog didn't like him because he was taking attention away from him. But then you realize whenever he comes over now your dog wants to cuddle with him instead of you.

So if you find a man who does all of those things, don't let him go. It's a rare and wonderful thing and I'm thankful for mine every day. What are some of the things your significant other does for you to show he loves you?